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Firms ignore the foreign language internet at their peril

By Fiona Graham, BBC News

Businesses must be careful they don't leave customers grimacing like Donald Rumsfeld at their poorly-translated websites
When Pepsi launched in China, so the story goes, the translation of the slogan, 'Come alive with the Pepsi generation', promised consumers something a little different.

Could Pepsi really bring their ancestors back from the dead? Apparently, there was a dip in sales.

While this has never been properly substantiated, according to urban legend busting website Snopes, Pepsi has never denied it.

Be that as it may, companies across the globe have come a cropper moving into foreign markets.

Braniff Airlines, for example, once offered Spanish-speaking passengers the opportunity to 'fly naked' rather than on leather seats.
But for businesses operating online, the push to be multilingual is hard to ignore.

Research commissioned by the European Commission found that 82% of consumers were less likely to buy goods online if the site was not in their native language.

Globally, research firm Common Sense Advisory found that 72.4% of consumers were more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.

Arena Flowers' Will Wynne: "Localisation is hard to get without native speakers"

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